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Linda Thomas

WA doesn't meet federal sex offender law

Washington is one of 34 states that have failed to meet conditions of a 2006 federal law that requires them to join a nationwide program to track sex offenders, according to an Associated Press investigation.

The states stand to lose millions of dollars in government grants for law enforcement, but some have concluded that complying with the law would be far more expensive than getting by without the money.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named after a boy kidnapped from a Florida mall and killed in 1981, was supposed to create a uniform system for registering and tracking sex offenders in all 50 states.

The significance of the national act was that all the states would have their information linked in a common system that is easily searchable. Washington requires sex offenders to register under state law. I'll check with the state today to determine how and why our state is out of compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

SexOffendersThe federal legislation organizes sex offenders into three categories and requires that level 3 offenders, who are most likely to reoffend, update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements.

Level 2 offenders must update their whereabouts every six months with 25 years of registration, and the level 1 offenders must update their whereabouts every year with 15 years of registration.

Failure to register and update information is a felony under the law.

Of the 34 states not in full compliance with the Adam Walsh Act, five have decided they won't even try. Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nebraska and Texas will instead forfeit 10 percent of the law-enforcement funding made available through the Justice Department.

There are a number of websites that list addresses of registered sex offenders, which are public record.

One search lists 748 registered sex offenders living in Seattle as of October 04, 2012.

The ratio of number of residents in Seattle to the number of sex offenders is about 825 to 1.

The King County Sheriff's Office lists names, photos and addresses of 849 registered sex offenders in Seattle.

Do those numbers seem low? By law, level 1 offenders are not listed in public database searches unless they are out of compliance with their court orders. So yes, there are far more sex offenders around us than we think.

By LINDA THOMAS, I have 13 registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of my home, according to Seattle records.

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About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

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